Phase 2 essay plan, variety A

("What makes an effect big?" by Jonathan Bingham)

What makes an effect big?

It is difficult to decide what factors have ‘big’ effects; many variables tested in education are found to have a significant effect usually to a probability of 0.05; this means there is only a 5% possibility that the result is due to chance and is not true. A factor that has been tested when p < 0.05 is cross-age peers in tutoring (Keer et al., 2010). Big effects could be effects which have been tested and found significant at greater levels of probability (for example: 0.01, 0.005 and 0.001). In other words, when an effect is so obvious and pervasive that it is significant at levels of P such as 0.001 then it is likely to be a big and highly influential variable. These ‘big’ effects are related to teachers (teacher’ experience when working with intelligent students has a significant effect when p< 0.001, Kukla-Acevedo, 2009 ) in the literature. There may be other ‘big’ effects which could add a valuable contribution to the discussion on important and influential factors in education.

Big Effect: Delivery (Posted by Iain Walker)

The delivery of a teacher can be described as a big effect in teaching, as a well spoken and interesting lecture will be easier to understand than when delivered monotonous and unclear. The DR Fox experiments, however, show that the motivation and will of a student to learn can overpower this effect, which shows that the delivery of a teacher may not be as important as first thought.

Big Effect 2: Knowledge and Learning Activities (posted by Iain Walker)

Another big effect in education is the Knowledge that a teacher possess’ of the subject of interest, and the subsequent expression of this knowledge. For example, Beiderman and Shiffer looked into how people were trained to sex day old chicks, in a process that took 6-12 weeks compared to a leaflet to be read for a minute. They found that the leaflet worked better than the training, so therefore tells us that this is a big effect in learning as the teachers role is therefore to not only have the required knowledge to teach, but they also have to equip learners with the tools to learn. Hake also found he could increase the learning of his pupils by changing teaching methods (traditional to interactive engagement) by almost 2 S.D’s which again shows that the knowledge of the teacher does not equal a good teacher, and that the method of learning activity can have a big effect also.

Mastery Learning is an example of learning activities that can have a big effect on learning. The teacher breaks the information to be learned into small chunks for the learner and they can only move on when they understand it. Great improvements can be seen when switching from traditional teaching methods to Mastery Learning, again showing how the method of teaching can play a big role in learning.

Overall the delivery, knowledge and learning activities of a teacher can all be independently import to learning, as each part adds greater learning to the next. A truly great teacher will therefore be good at all three areas of teaching.